Barty holds off Rogers to round out quarterfinals in Charleston

Barty holds off Rogers to round out quarterfinals in Charleston

The No. 1-ranked Australian is the only Top 20 player through to the quarterfinals from the eight that were originally in the draw.

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty battled for more than two hours to hold off hometown favorite Shelby Rogers on Thursday night, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4, and round out the quarterfinal lineup in Charleston.

With Petra Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza both falling earlier in the day, Barty is the lone Top 20 player into the quarters from the eight that were originally in the draw at the WTA 500 event.

“It’s strange playing someone so often and quite close together,” said Barty, who also played—and beat—Rogers twice in Australia in February. “Sometimes it’s just the way the draw works. You find yourself playing the same person over and over, other times you won’t play them for years at a time.”

There were clues that it was going to be a long night for Barty from the outset, as the No. 52-ranked Rogers broke early en route to a 3-1 lead, and even held a pair of break points for a 4-1, double-break lead—but Barty clawed back, eventually sneaking the set out in a tie-break after 59 minutes.

It looked like Barty might pull away as she won the first eight points of the second set, breaking at love before holding at love for a 2-0 lead, but Rogers wasn’t finished by any means. She won six of the next eight games to take the second set, then rallied from 4-2 down in the third to draw even at 4-all.

The Australian had one last burst left however, breaking for a fifth time. On her second match point, Barty blasted her 10th ace of the night to close it out after two hours and 23 minutes on court.

“Shelby’s an exceptional striker,” Barty said of Rogers. “She always makes you work very hard for every single point in every single match, and tonight was no different. It was obviously a different surface to what we played on at the start of the year in Melbourne, but it was tough no less."

It was a tale of three acts for Barty, whose game went somewhat awry in the middle set with 10 winners to 20 unforced errors, but who almost broke even in the other two sets—she had 16 winners to 17 unforced errors in the first set and 13 winners to 16 unforced errors in the decider.

Chris Smith/Volvo Car Open

Rogers talked about that crucial 4-all game in the third set during her post-match press conference.

“She raised her level at that moment. That’s what these girls do so well,” the American said. “They recognize the three points that are going to make or break a match. She hit a good drop shot at 30-all and had a couple of good backhands in that game, obviously a tough one, and then she served it out.

“She’s been in that position a million times before and she knew that was a really important moment. She didn’t want to go down 5-4 there, and she trusted herself that she could get it done.”

Awaiting Barty in Friday’s quarterfinals will be No. 71-ranked Paula Badosa, who beat American Caty McNally earlier in the day, 6-3, 6-2. Badosa took out No. 5 seed Belinda Bencic in the second round.

Barty and Badosa will be playing each other for the first time.